too much

It feels like it all comes back to it: everything is too much.

I think too much, feel too much, stress too much, and yet it all feels like it isn’t enough. Ever since I can remember I have been scared of living a boring life. When I was around 16 (the time I call « when I started becoming a person ») I met someone I quickly started considering as my role model. I saw things of myself in them and I decided I wanted to become like them. Not in terms of studies (we don’t study the same things to this day), but in terms of how busy and how many cool things they were doing at the same time. Now I had always been a busy kid: at the peak of my « athletic abilities » so to say, I was doing 9h/week of competitive gymnastics, which I then stopped entirely to pick up 10h of dance classes per week as replacement. In primary school I was swimming and doing rhythmic gymnastics most evenings, not counting the art classes I took and all the books I was reading. I aced all my tests and I always got home with a lollipop as reward despite doing the bare minimum and having skipped a year (typical gifted kid shit).

I was fascinated by my role model (I even wrote my journalism school application form about them – and got in!) and they probably don’t even know how they helped me through the last year of high school. That year, I was too focused on writing a dance piece of my own and flying to Vietnam without my parents to prepare for one of my national exams (which I got the top grade for without revising – back on gifted bullshit). But aside from that I also recall crying myself to sleep a lot of the time from the pressure and anxiety. I repeated to myself over and over their words: I refuse to be wasted away because my brain says so. I was determined to pick up everything I could, take every opportunity – and that’s what I did. 5 years later and I’m still doing it:

Year 1: had my pictures exhibited in an art gallery, took 2 or 3 dance classes a week, got my driving license, went to the Netherlands, passed all my prépa exams successfully, lived for a month alone in London while being a shadowing intern there.

Year 2: became a biology tutor for the 1st years (in English), was still taking a dance class, went to South Korea for a week, to Venezia for another week, pandemic hit and I was still nailing my exams, managed to find an internship amidst the disaster and spent a good part of the summer working.

Year 3: pandemic and mixing of students made me miserable but I became president of my school club, hosted a quizz over Teams in front of 120 people, burnt out but got the highest grades on my finals in the past 2 years, got stuck in France after Denmark closed their borders and still followed the classes, while making a podcast which I wrote, interviewed the people for and edited almost entirely alone, gave chemistry tutoring, got not one but two internships (which I both accepted after the first one cancelled on me in the middle of summer) at the first try (I applied to 2 companies and got in both, while people send 20 applications and get no answer?? back on the gifted bullshit).

Year 4: I worked full time (even overtime) at that international company speaking english everyday and being mostly left alone since my tutor was barely here for me, while still presiding the school club and all that comes with it. I broke hearts and made out with others. I got hired as assistant for equality at school, got interviewed in a panel live on YouTube, organized the anti-sexual harrasement system at each party the school organized (staying up all night watching over people), went to Marseilles in the span of two days for a seminar. I switched major and got catapulted into electronics and biomechanics (I made a robotic ankle orthosis?!) which doubled my amount of classes and work so I had to skip classes to go to others. I spoke without any preparation in front of an entire lecture hall of 3rd years and smiled under the applause while holding my arms to keep them from trembling. I got hired back at my internship company to work over the summer. I went back to therapy.

And this is all without counting the time I spent watching shows, reading books and the time generally lost on social media because my brain was too tired to do anything else. And so here we are. I have two and a half days to study for eight finals, and organize yet another dispositif anti-VSS en soirée, but I’m burning out again. I am too preoccupied with the feeling of being overwhelmingly lost to focus on studying.

I find myself going back to my role model’s words. After four years, I understand some of them better than I thought I did back then. I realize that they are a real person, with personal struggles that will never be mine. I keep coming back to that quote (which I even already wrote about)

Everybody is just a collage of their favourite parts of other people

I don’t really know where I stand anymore. Is there a core me, a captain self, or are we just made up of all our role models and people we meet over the years?

I am really struggling with my sense of identity. I am not the person I used to be. So who am I? Who will I be when the anxiety and the pressure is gone? Why do I have so many friends when I can barely stand myself some days? What do they find me? What do I stand for? Is this what I want to do for the rest of my life? Will I ever feel like I’m enough? Why do I ask myself these questions over and over?

Many questions, not enough answers. They say it gets better, so I’ll be patient and keep moving on.

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